Ongoing Investigations: Case #189

It was time to return to the Code Geass universe with the first Akito the Exiled OVA. It is a side story set during the original series that takes place on the mostly neglected European front. While the European Union was mentioned several times in the series there were no significant scenes that ever really take place there. So it is a good setting as a good deal can go on in that area and not have it contradict the original series.

The only real consequence is that the cast is limited in what it can accomplish. The overall defeat of the EU is an inevitability. So the cast cannot become super heroes who single handily turn the tide of the war or kill the Emperor. But at the same time the can accomplish smaller goals so it is not like there is nothing they do in this time period.

The first thing most people will notice is that no matter where Japanese people go in the Code Geass universe it is a hard knock life. The Japanese hoping to escape a terrible life in Area 11 find that being refugees in other countries is little better. The crazy European commander of a Japanese unit starts sending his subordinates suits their self destruct codes as he sees them as subhuman mongrels whose only value is to die completing their missions. So the not so subtle themes of prejudice are echoed here as well.

The single survivor of the unit, named Akito, is helped by another commander named Leila Malkal. It seems Akito has some sort of Geass power but other than using in ambiguously in combat a few times it seems the writers are keeping what exactly his ability is under their hats. I also get the feeling they imply Leila has a Geass power but they only tease its existence more than show it.

Other than that most of the episode is just showing the setting as the European Union that was barely fleshed out in the original series. We mostly learn that they are a different sort of corrupt government as opposed to a noble force that fights against the wicked Britannian empire. The leadership of the AU is mainly made up of haughty nobles who live in luxury while a good deal of the citizenry lives in poverty. Leila seems to be a rare expectation although she seems less concerned about reforming the system and more about just being a decent human being to the people she meets.

I was a little surprised that for a Code Geass series there was almost no fan service. The original series all but left you voice mails every episode reminding you about how stacked Kallen and C.C. were. So other than a pair of bunny girl waitresses (who barely appear on-screen) there is almost nothing else close to fan service in the series. I wonder if that makes this an easier sell to certain people.

The next episode preview seems to indicate that some major players from the original series are going to stop by next episode. It seems that C.C. has some tie to Leila which backs up my theory that she has a Geass power.

This is an easy recommendation to anyone who enjoyed the original series. It is fairly short but fills in the universe without trying to carve out too ambitious of a niche in the greater story. Hopefully they will keep the scope ambitious but not to the level in which they forget how small their canvas is.

I was looking forward to the Code Geass: Akito the Exiled OVA and the first episode didn’t disappoint me. Though admittedly a lot of the surprises were in the next episode preview, I thought this episode set up things well and got me invested in the characters.

I really warmed to our lead Leila right away. She seems like a soldier and able to take care of herself. She has her head on right without being conventional, her unit is ending up being a unique team. The hints at her past got more interesting as the episode went on.

Akito is not a cold fish which was a pleasant surprise. I liked that they didn’t reveal what exactly his Geass does yet. He uses it in battle at the start but he doesn’t use it in a later battle so it remains a mystery. The movement of his robot at the beginning is crazy! Very animal like in its agility, it was actually a little unnerving.

I enjoyed everyone meeting in this installment and happily there was no romantic agenda being pushed. They do introduce a lot of characters and a lot of characters with Geass powers but hopefully they’ll be able to balance all of them.

It doesn’t seem like a story that is going to end in happiness though I’m guessing it won’t be all bad. Still I expect Akito to die by the end.

The only real problem for me was the characters’ hair and clothing designs, bleh. Also some of the characters had tiny heads! Oh wait, and there was also super creeper fiance brother. So some minor missteps.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.

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No Case Too Small: Heroman

The case in question is episode 20 of Heroman: Missing

Heroman wasn’t exactly a great show, but when Holly’s love of being a detective comes to the surface in a later episode, I had to laugh. When livestock and eventually people start disappearing the case has everyone baffled. Then when Professor Denton goes off to look for something he winds up missing, too. But never fear (or please fear a lot) Holly, Joey, and Psy are on the case!

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #102

I finally finished up Heroman which ended up being a rather unfortunate series. Things come to a head in the final 5 episodes as we learn a little more about Joey’s father, Psy’s accident, and the seemingly random episodes like the crazy monster on the island. If you couldn’t figure it out from the 2nd opening, the Skruggs role in this show were not yet done but their new forms are a surprisingly good moment in the series. Too bad much of the emotional hooks feel disconnected, but the Skruggs’ and Will’s part to play are a welcome sight. The final battle is climatic and full of friendship so it actually rounded out the story nicely if you don’t ask too many questions. But when the credits finish you see quite clearly Bones hoped to continue the series which we all assume will never happen. This hint of more to come though highlights one of the worst parts of Heroman: Dr. Minami and his minions. I could think of a number of much more exciting things to show in order to have me hope for more, but with that preview I thought to myself, “thank goodness it is over!” I was excited and full of hope for Heroman in the beginning, but it was plagued by uneven pacing and shallow characterization for its heroes and villains alike. I enjoyed the early episodes and the final ones but Heroman fell short in between. In many ways it kind of reminds me of how Ben 10 makes me feel, it is almost good but never quite makes it.

hisuiconAlso on another recommendation from mysterious voices from the Internet on the OSMcast I decided to pick up the DS game Infinite Space. That was an excellent recommendation. It is a great space opera game that has an epic story and some great characters. There are twists and turns and betrayals and alliances made all the time. There are several major decisions that can effect the plot line you travel along encouraging you to use the new game plus feature as well. The ships in the game are super customizable and anyone who ever enjoyed playing BattleTech will be in heaven. The game has two major sections. It starts of great and then the first parts ends and the game kicks everything into high gear. So much so that the game actually has and ending and then a new opening to herald in the second half. The main problem with the game is the learning curve is BRUTAL. There are many points in the game were how the game is played changes and if you don’t learn the switch you will be murdered until you figure out how to change your strategy or how a new mechanic works. This game can easily be a lesson in frustration but I think the game is rewarding enough that it offsets that frustration. It is a fun game and I am really curious how it is going to all end.

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